ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A suspect is facing charges after his alleged accomplice was killed while robbing an Imo’s Pizza delivery driver in south St. Louis Thursday night.
The man was delivering food in the 4600 block of South Spring when two suspects robbed him around 10:20 p.m., police said. One of the suspects was later identified as Lavon Courtney Jr., a 17-year old from the 5300 Block of Grant.
During the robbery, Courtney hit the 41-year-old victim on the head with a gun. When the man attempted to run back to his vehicle Courtney fired shots at him, according to police.
“I heard gunshots coming towards Spring Street towards Taft,” said Destiny Bateman, who has lived in Dutchtown for the last three years.
After the shots were fired at him, the delivery driver, fearing for his safety, returned fire using his own handgun, police said. That return fire struck and killed Courtney. The second suspect, later identified as Montel Smith, fled on foot.
After shooting Courtney, the victim went back to his work, which was the Imo’s restaurant just a block away on Delor Street and called the police.
Over the weekend, the general manager of the Imo’s Pizza where the victim worked said the man resigned because he was filled with anxiety.
Courtney was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they found a gun next to his body.
Monday morning, Smith, 24, was charged with murder second and one count of robbery for his alleged role in the crime. He is currently being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
“I’m glad the delivery driver was able to help himself. Everyone has that right,” said Theresa Hill, who lives nearby where the shooting took place.
Hill has lived in Dutchtown her whole life and said the area is getting more dangerous.
“It just seems to be getting more and crazier. I mean I can lay in bed and hear gunshots going off. I’m afraid one day I’m going to be sitting there watching TV and end up dead,” said Hill.
Bateman was surprised to hear the gunshots that night.
“I feel really safe here,” said Bateman, “I just hope they don’t stop delivering over here because I like food.”
The victim was not shot but did sustain a laceration to his head.
News 4 did reach out to Imo’s to see if they are going to change their delivery safety protocol since this is the second Imo’s driver to be held at gunpoint while making deliveries. The incident is also the fifth food delivery driver in South City to be attacked ?in an attempted robbery situation since August 2017.
Police said the investigation is still ongoing as they determine if the delivery driver could face any charges, or if the shooting is classified as self-defense.
Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved?